Brandy Biggar is an Honours student in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and the Department of Biology at UVic. Her research focuses on marine invertebrates, specifically examining the foregut development in the chiton, Katharina tunicata. She is also interested ecology, climate change, and conservation. Her future aspiration is to pursue graduate studies.
Describe your research focus. I am completing my Bachelor’s degree in Earth & Ocean Sciences (EOS) and Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology. My research experience extends from benthic to pelagic ecology, and from the environmental extremes of hydrothermal vents to highly polluted freshwater streams. The majority of my work has been on marine invertebrates and my special interests are ecology, climate change, and conservation.
What inspired you to get involved in research at UVic? One of my professors! Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe gave a guest lecture in my first year EOS course and she was so passionate and inspiring. I was a freshmen at that point and had a lot to learn, but this inspirational experience kept that fire burning in the back of my head. Three years later, an opportunity arose for me to work with Dr. Tunnicliffe and I jumped on it. This opportunity has opened many more doors for me to gain other research experience.
What will you take away from your research experience? I have learned and grown so much from my research experiences at UVic; these opportunities have given me more than any other part of my education. Beyond the obvious technical skills that I have acquired, the relationships I have built and the confidence I have gained are invaluable. I have gained friends, mentors, and important contacts that are already helping me to advance myself. Without these opportunities I do not believe I would have had the confidence to complete an honours thesis, or to advance my education to the next level by pursuing graduate school.
What are your future aspirations and goals? I am currently in my final semester of my undergraduate degree. I am lucky enough to have secured a summer research position studying biological oceanography with Dr. Diana Varela. My aspirations beyond that are to get into graduate school, complete a Master’s degree and then potentially a PhD degree. Ultimately, I hope that one day I can be the brilliant professor inspiring young women to achieve greatness.